SU Drama's THE GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN Opens This Friday
Can we practice goodness and create a world to sustain it? In Brecht's comic and complex play, this question is raised by one of his most entertaining characters, Shen Tei, the good-hearted, penniless, cross-dressing prostitute, who is forced to disguise herself as a savvy businessman named Sui Ta so she can master the ruthlessness needed to be a "good person" in a brutal world. The Good Woman of Setzuan will run March 28-April 13, 2014 in the Loft Theater at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex. Tickets can be purchased online at http://vpa.syr.edu/drama, by phone at 315-443-3275, and in person at the SU Drama Box Office, 820 East Genesee Street.
Note to Patrons: The Good Woman of Setzuan will be the first SU Drama mainstage production performed in the Loft Theater, located on the second floor of the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex. As a 60-seat black box theater, The Loft allows for flexible seating arrangements and a unique, up-close audience experience. Patrons may enter the building through the Irving Street doors (the usual entrance for the Arthur Storch Theater), and will be guided by ushers to the Loft Theater. Patrons that use wheelchairs or need physical assistance are asked to please arrive early.
In addition to his many acclaimed plays-The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and her Children, and Galileo, among others-Brecht was well-known for his Marxist principles and dramaturgical theories. He sharply criticized much of the theatre of his day, labeling it "culinary theatre" that was designed to placate and satiate the audience. Brecht wanted theatre to arouse the audience and instill "wakefulness." He explained, "I wanted to apply to the theatre the saying that one should not only interpret the world but change it." (StageView)
Despite the fact that the major catastrophes of the 20th century undoubtedly influenced Brecht's significant contribution to theatre arts, he nonetheless remained an optimist. He understood that theatre should also entertain. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times noted in a review of a recent production of Good Woman, "If you associate Brecht with heavy-treading, message-mongering nights at the theatre, you may be taken aback to find how purely entertaining his work can be."
Felix Ivanov (Director) is a graduate of the prestigious Schukin Theater School at the Vakhtangov Academy Theater and the Stasov Musical School (violin) in Moscow, Russia. He has choreographed the combat, movement and character dance scenes for over three hundred Russian drama and puppet theaters, motion pictures and television. Presently, Felix is an assistant professor at the Drama Department of Syracuse University. His stage movement and combat choreography has been seen at many American venues including The Acting Company, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, The New York Theater Workshop, The Wooster Group, The Cherry Lane Theater in NYC; The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN; The Shakespeare Theater Festival in Cleveland, OH; and The Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C., among others.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century. His works include The Threepenny Opera (1928) with composer Kurt Weill, Mother Courage and Her Children (1941), The Good Person of Setzuan (1943), and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (1958). He wrote a wide variety of poetry, including occasional poems, poems he set to music and performed, songs and poems for his plays, personal poems recording anecdotes and thoughts, and political poems. Brecht's poetry is collected in Poems 1913-1956 (1997) and Poetry and Prose: Bertolt Brecht (2003).